Need to address old houses woes

Fatimah handed over the aid to the victims.

SIBU: Relevant parties need to address the problem of old houses in the city.

Minister of Welfare, Community Welfare, Women, Family and Child Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah stated that this will eventually overcome the poverty in the city.

She stressed that the recent fire incident at Jalan Tiong Hua in Sibu definitely been an eye opener for the authorities and relevant parties to find a comprehensive solution to avoid recurrence in the future.

“Apart from addressing the housing aspect, there was also a need to address urban poverty.

“From what I know, usually the owners of old houses will not live there and they will move to new houses. These abandoned old houses will be rented out to others, especially those who come to work in the city.

“Most of them are from rural areas because they cannot afford to rent a better and suitable place while making ends meet,” she explained on Monday (Apr 5).

The Dalat assemblywoman said the structure of the old house is at risk in the event of a fire because it can easily burn.

“Sometimes, more than one family live in the house and there is also the danger during a fire. All the relevant parties really need to sit and look at the situation seriously because we know that there are other places aside from Jalan Tiong Hua, where old houses are rented to others.

“If we do not address this issue seriously, the situation will get worse,” she added.

Fatimah (centre) and Chieng listen to Abdul Mutalif.

Earlier, she handed over aid from the Social Welfare Department to the victims of the fire at Jalan Tiong Hua here.

She expressed her sympathy to the victims while donating RM30,600 which included pocket money, daily clothing allowance, school aid and building materials.

Of the 11 families that received the assistance, only three families were eligible for building materials assistance because they were the homeowners.

Also present were State Social Welfare Department director Noriah Ahmad, Bukit Assek Branch SUPP Youth Chief councillor Joseph Chieng and Sibu Sentral Fire Station chief Abdul Mutalif Jaafar.